You want a joke about Chicago firefighters? Fine. Back in, oh, 1985, I was home on leave and went to visit my older brother, who was a Paramedic/Officer in the CFD. At the time, he was posted to Station 98, which is the building on Chicago Ave. immediately east of the Water Tower complex and immediately south of the Water Tower Place. Curiously enough, when we were both little, our family lived in one of the apartment buildings a block to the east, and the firefighters of the mid-1960s used to let us hang out at the station and play on the fire engine. Now, when I went to see my brother, Streets & Sanitation had just replaced part of the sidewalk in front of the fire house. So, the boys and girls of the CFD being, well, the boys and girls of the CFD, they had defiled one of the walkway tiles. And by "defiled," I mean turned into a work of art. My brother pretty much immediately showed me that part of the sidewalk, and it really was gorgeous. Whoever had done it really had an artistic flair. Down both sides and across the bottom were carved fleur-de-lis and intricate ivies, surmounted at the top by angels blowing trumpets and flanking the CFD emblem and a fire helmet. Below that, in large flowing script, the words "IN LOVING MEMORY:" had been carved into the cement. Below that, on the left side, were the words "First Platoon, Engine Co. 98," beneath which were the names and ranks of the firefighters. On the right were the words "Second Platoon, Ambulance Co. 11," below which were my brother's rank and name and his partner's. Pride beaming from his face, my brother asked me, "Well, what do you think?" And all I could say was, "Very nice. Beautiful, even. Of course, it makes it look like you all died in a fire, but . . ." Apparently, that was an interpretation of their handiwork that had never occured to them.